portuguese names

There aren’t many languages more beautiful than Portuguese, with its vibrant consonants and its soft vowels… And they are all in Portuguese names as well.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to name your baby, Portuguese baby names may just be it! And if their sonority isn’t quite enough for you, you will see that you can find some great meanings as well.

But let’s learn a little bit about Portuguese names before choosing one for your baby.

  

Portuguese names and Brazilian names

As you probably know, Portuguese is mainly spoken in Brazil and Portugal, although there are other regions in the world where they speak it, such as Mozambique, Angola or Guinea-Bissau, among others. 

They share the same language, but Portuguese names are not the same in Portugal and in Brazil. Here are the most interesting facts about them:

  • Portuguese baby names are usually formed by one or two given names and then the surnames, which are usually two (but they can also have three, or even more!). Normally, the first surname is the mother’s and the second, the father’s, and they can opt to use both of them and to have more than two surnames – two of the mother and two of the father, two of the mother and one of the father, and so on. However, for official purposes, they only use on of the surnames, typically the last one.

  • As if all those Portuguese names weren’t enough, married women can adopt also their husband’s surnames, so they can have up to six surnames!

  • In Brazil, the tendency of the many surnames is changing: immigrants from other parts of the world are giving their children just one surname. The Spanish pattern (the father’s surname plus the mother’s) is also used nowadays, as well as the Western pattern (one or more given names and just one surname).

  • Portuguese names are often made into nicknames, which can be built in different ways: they can add a diminutive suffix like –ihn/-ihna or –zinho/-zinha; but they can also add an augmentative one (-ão). Other diminutives can be created by repeating one of the syllables used (Zezé instead of José), or they can mix several techniques. So, besides choosing one of the beautiful Portuguese names for you baby, you can also get creative with the nicknames!

 

Portuguese names, following the path of their neighbours

Portuguese is a Romance language, which means that it originated in the nowadays disappeared Latin Language, which ramified in other languages, like Spanish, French of Italian. This means that Portuguese names have a lot in common with French names, Spanish names and Italian names.

But Portuguese baby names are also part of the European naming tradition – and Christianity is its main characteristic: This means that Portuguese names also have a lot in common with German names or English names, since most European names come from Hebrew, Latin, Ancient Greek, Celtic or Germanic, and have been translated to the different languages that are spoken nowadays. In that sense, Portuguese names are no different, so among them you will find many that can be translated to your own language – You may even recognise some of them!

As you can see, Portuguese names are very interesting besides being beautiful! Now that we know a little bit more about them, let’s take a look at CaptainMums’ selections for girls and for boys:

 

Need help? Ask other mummies in CaptainMums' forum!

 

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